Apple wants you to know that they are totally emotionally committed to the idea of recycling. What they don’t want you to know is the depth of that commitment:
Apple’s new moonshot plan is to make iPhones and computers entirely out of recycled materials by putting pressure on the recycling industry to innovate. But documents obtained by Motherboard using Freedom of Information requests show that Apple’s current practices prevent recyclers from doing the most environmentally friendly thing they could do: Salvage phones and computers from the scrap heap.
Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused — instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.
Glass, unless you swallow it, is fairly benign. Not so much some of these metals:
Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, notes that recycling “should be a last option” because unrecyclable rare earth metals are completely lost and melted down commodities are less valuable and of generally of a lower quality than freshly mined ones. Repair and reuse are much better ways to extend the value of the original mined materials.
But hey, that doesn’t encourage the guy who might be able to afford a secondhand iPhone to go out and buy the latest and greatest.
(Via Joanna Blackhart.)